Top of the class: 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD electric SUV road test review

A silver Kia EV6 drive on the road

Craig Duff

Posted September 20, 2022


Kia’s large electric SUV, the EV6 GT, is one of the best electric vehicles in the Australian market. Is this the car that topples the top-selling Tesla Model Y?

The Kia EV6 is a glimpse of the future of electric vehicles.

Technically a large SUV, the Kia is more a mid-sized fastback sedan. No matter the description, it represents a competent and capable vehicle that’s going to do the job.

The price-positioning is also smart, with the Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD sitting mid-way between the standard Tesla Model Y and Performance versions.

Kia EV6 launch

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How much does the Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD cost?

Melbourne buyers can land a base Kia EV6 Air with a $72,600 sticker price, or $78,600 on the road. The GT-Line AWD costs another $17,000 when parked in your driveway.

The extra spend (which is only $3000 shy of the diminutive Kia Picanto S automatic), adds - as the name suggests - all-wheel drive in the form of a second electric motor, along with a fistful of enhancements to the vehicle’s interior.

It’s also worth noting the EV6’s price has risen substantially since the vehicle launched earlier in 2022, when an Air could be had for $67,990 before on-roads, and the GT-Line AWD cost $82,990. Did someone say semi-conductor shortage?…

The nearest competitors are the Tesla Model Y Performance, which costs $107,800 on the road and the twin-under-the-skin Hyundai Ioniq 5 Techniq, which is $77,500 plus on-road costs, or around $85,000 driveaway).

The Kia EV6 is covered by a five-year warranty (the battery has a seven-year, 160,000km coverage). Pre-paid servicing over that period runs to $1,089.

 

The Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD costs around $89,600 on the road.
The Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD fills its wheel arches out with 20-inch rims.

Is the Kia EV6 safe?

ANCAP bestowed a five-star rating on the EV6, excluding the high-performance GT which is yet to arrive (and be assessed) in Australia. Expect that late in 2022.

Adult occupant protection was judged to be 90 per cent, with marginal results for the driver’s chest and lower legs in the frontal offset crash test.

Child occupant protection was rated at 87 per cent, though the crash-test dummy simulating a 10-year-old was considered marginal in the side pole test.

Vulnerable road user protection came in at 64 per cent and safety assist features were given an 88 per cent score.

The Kia comes with all the expected driver-assist features, from traffic sign recognition to autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection. It isn't a marketing tool ... the EV6 abruptly braked when a cat jumped behind the vehicle.

What’s the Kia EV6 like inside?

'Futuristic minimalism' best describes the EV6. The layout is easy to understand from the moment you enter the vehicle, despite the fact the power button is in the centre console near the rotary transmission dial.

Storage space is good, there’s a wireless phone charger if you’re prepared to let the phone heat up from the capacitive charge (we prefer to physically tether our device to one of the pair of USB-C ports, or the single USB-A) and the seats are sensational for long hauls.

That applies equally to those in the rear, where there is another pair of USB-C ports to ensure those down the back aren’t complaining about losing power on a road trip and the EV6 GT-Line AWD does vehicle-to load (V2L) through a three-pin connector to power most appliances.

Visibility is good in the front and rear and there’s a relatively commodious 480 litres of cargo space.

That’s down by 10 litres on the rear-wheel drive versions, courtesy of the boot-mounted sub-woofer.

A pair of 12.3-inch displays control he infotainment and driver’s display. They’re easily visible day or night and are both easy to operate.

Dual-zone climate control is standard and there’s a 14-speaker Meridian sound system to punch out the tunes through the cabin.

 

A pair of digital displays dominate the dash of the Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD.
Rear seat space is good for both head and legroom.
Lift the bonnet and an EV badge covers a 20-litre cubby space.

What’s under the Kia EV6’s bonnet?

The Kia EV6 GT-Line AWD runs a pair of electric motors. The front unit pushes out 165kW and 350Nm. The rear adds 74kW and 255kW, for a combined total of 239kW/605Nm.

Supplying power to those motors is a 77.4kW/h battery with a 477kg mass.

Is the Kia EV6 efficient?

Kia quotes a range of 484 kilometres for the GT-Line AWD. Expect something just under 400km before you start being concerned.

An 800-volt architecture means this version can charge in a theoretical 18 minutes from 10-80 per cent of battery capacity.

That's unlikely to happen. Budget for 25 minutes of that supply, climbing to around eight hours for a 10-100 per cent charge using an 11kW home charger.

The quoted 18.0kW/h over 100km is achievable, providing it isn’t too hot or too cold … the climate control will have an appreciable impact on range.

 

Learn how JET Charge makes EV charging at home easy and convenient

How does the Kia EV6 drive?

Despite a 2.1-tonne mass the Kia EV6 GT-line AWD hauls like a performance European sedan.

Think 5.2 seconds to 100km/h. Cornering speeds are equally frenetic, with the low-slung battery pack not causing any angst when attacking your favourite bends.

The EV6 GT-Line AWD rolls on 20-inch alloys wheels. There is a little stutter over low-speed, low-amplitude bumps but nothing that isn’t evident on similarly priced petrol-powered vehicles.

The car comes into its own as the pace increases.

Frequency-adaptive shock absorbers control any wayward motion over potholes and corrugations and give the car a substantial, planted feel.

Flick the drive mode into Sport (as distinct from Eco and Normal) and the Kia EV6 is a provocative machine, capable of passing the speed limit faster than drivers may desire.

The Tesla Model Y Performance is quicker but lacks the Kia’s handling prowess.

The regenerative braking, operated using the steering wheel paddle shifters, can enable single-foot operation of the vehicle that’s entirely predictable once you’ve driven only a few kilometres.

Should I buy a Kia EV6?

Yes … but prepare for a long wait. The Kia EV6 has a substantial waiting list and delivery time, much thanks to the semiconductor shortage.

That shows just how popular this vehicle is … and forebodes a rapid adoption to electric vehicles once the car making supply constraints are resolved (which could take 12-18 months).

Test-drive one and there’s a good chance you’ll be prepared to wait.

You may want to consider holding out for the GT version: Porsche Taycan-like performance (3.5-seconds to 100km/h) for around $100,000 plus on-roads.

That’s probably too quick for a family car, in which case the GT-Line AWD comes into its own.

 

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.


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